The countdown has already begun to bid 2014 goodbye.
By now, the Christmas lights are strung, the last few projects at work are being wrapped up, and the last minute gifts are being bought.
As we turn another corner, have you taken stock of the year that was? Would you consider the last twelve months a rousing success or a crazy rollercoaster? Did you come out a better person?
Filipinos are a people familiar with storms and unafraid of catastrophe. Blame it on the average of 20 typhoons that we weather every year, or count on the OFW spirit that can survive or even surmount unfamiliar environments, but we are not the type to shy away from difficulty. In fact, what makes us Filipino is, in spite of it all, we can smile, laugh, and selfie at life’s rougher edges.
While we are far from perfect, we are a culture that has much to be proud of. Yes, we can produce a world boxing champion like Manny Pacquiao or a singing sensation like Lea Salonga. However, more than these individuals, we have 5 core values that tie us as a nation. These five traits are things that are distinctly Filipino. They’re not just what make us different; they are also what make us remarkable.
Before we end 2014 and as we meet 2015, here are five reasons we need to be proud to be Pinoy and why if we’re not there yet, we need to change for the better:
#Blessed? Regardless if we’re rich or just getting by, Filipinos have an uncanny ability to find the silver lining in everything. Isn’t this why even waist-deep in a flood, we can afford to smile? This is our trait of being MAPAGPASALAMAT. Even when we celebrate something as self-driven as a birthday, somehow, we always manage to use it as an occasion to thank our family and friends. We throw parties not to celebrate ourselves but to gather everyone we hold dear in one room. We have faith, through both highs and lows, that we shall prevail and there are many things to be thankful for.
When the worst storm to hit landfall wiped out Tacloban and its neighboring areas, the entire world turned its attention to the Philippines. Amidst the destruction, one thing shone through and that was the MATATAG spirit of the Filipinos. Even with death on our doorstep, even with the most terrible natural catastrophe in our homeland, we came out swinging. We may have been dealt a blow but we’re still alive and we’re still kicking. Even with day to day storms, Filipinos have the ability to grit their teeth, bear the pressure, until they emerge victorious.
The OFWs have been a primary mover of the Philippines’economic growth. We saw how their remittances saved us from the 2008 Wall Street crash and last year, the Philippines reached investment grade status thanks to the financial support this community has lent us. The reason why there are so many OFWS is in our MASIGASIG tendencies. Desiring a better life, dreaming of improving the state of their families, Filipinos venture out of the country and will stop at nothing to arrive at their dreams. We know that success comes at the expense of hard work and we are fine with persevering until we reach our rainbow.
There’s a big reason why the Philippines is the social media capital of the world. It’s not just because we like to share. It’s more because we are MAPAGMALASAKIT. We care about our colleagues, we care about our crushes, we care about our friends. That’s why whatever chance we can get, real or virtual, we connect with them. We are naturally empathetic –a loved one’s problem becomes our problem. We hold each other’s hands, we hardly leave our loved ones alone and we constantly check in with each other, whether through Viber, WhatsApp, or Twitter. We all maintain different groups and that’s manifested in the many chatrooms we actively participate in –office, barkada, family, university, hobby, you name it.
And finally, as we look forward to the annual traditions of noche buena, aguinaldo and simbang gabi, we can all be very proud of being MAGALANG. We respect our relatives and when family reunions roll around, we treat our grandparents with great fondness, we grasp their hand and put it against our forehead. This gesture of pagmamano is so deeply ingrained in our culture that it’s become the subject of ads and the greatest symbol of affection in the family. Our respect also applies to all. Filipino words like kapatid, anak, are gender-neutral, and that reveals our respect is regardless of gender. This is also why Filipinos raise strong women, our origin story of Malakas and Maganda shows that we value both genders. One is not greater than the other because equally, both sprung from the bamboo. Filipinos don’t discriminate and that is why we are highly ranked for service, hospitality and care-related jobs.
The Philippines may not be the richest country in the world. We may not have the highest standard of living yet. Still, the Filipino people is very rich to have these qualities that spell happiness. After all, life is not just about what you own, but about what you stand for. -Rappler.com
These traits are not just characteristics but are the results of a study made by renowned phenomenological sociologist Dr. Mina Ramirez. Rappler, in partnership with Krem Top Coffee creamer, encourages Filipinos to Change for the Better. How would you like to improve yourself? Tell us in the comments section below.